In these pages Benedict XVI shares his reasons for retiring from the papacy in 2013 in an interview with the author. Many saw his astonishing retirement as a sign of the Church's decline, but he intended it as a seed sown in the hope of bringing the Church a younger, more vigorous leadership in the face of daunting challenges.
Among those challenges are the financial and sexual scandals that continue to undermine the Church's mission. When Ratzinger was elected Pope in 2005, he opened a path of purification for the Church, while calling upon the Western world to return to its Christian roots and to build a new humanism for the twenty-first century, and his call for renewal is still relevant.
Widely recognized as one of the most important theologians and spiritual leaders of our time, Joseph Ratzinger served throughout the papacy of John Paul II as the Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Both men had witnessed how atheistic philosophies and war had ravaged twentieth-century Europe, and they shared in the effort of revealing to modern man his need for God, for redemption in Jesus Christ.